Sugar is bad for our teeth. Time and time again we have all heard this. Sugars and carbohydrates are converted into acids due to the bacteria in the mouth. The decay process starts because these acids begin to attack the enamel on teeth. But there are foods that can actually contribute to your oral health. If you think your teeth are suffering from poor oral health, book an appointment with Dillehay Orthodontics today. We have put together this list to help with your diet and overall oral health. Enjoy!
Vitamin C is vital for the health of your gum tissue, and most fruits contain it, but kiwis contain the highest amount. The collagen in your gums breaks down, and the gums become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease when Vitamin C is missing from your diet.
Cheese helps neutralize the acid in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel because it is high in phosphate and calcium, and also prevents cavities and gum disease. Eating cheese can raise the pH in mouths and lower the risk of tooth decay. The chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth, and cheese also contains nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel, like protein.
The bacteria Streptococcus mutans causes cavities, and when you chew celery (or apples or carrots) the saliva produced neutralizes it. Celery is also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth. Celery, like carrots and apples, acts like a toothbrush as it scrapes food particles and bacteria away from your teeth, despite its bad reputation for being bland, watery, and full of those pesky strings. It is also a good source of the antioxidants, vitamins A and C, that give the health of your gums a boost. Celery is extra tasty when you top it with cream cheese!
Sesame seeds are high in calcium and help preserve the bone around the teeth and gums. They help build tooth enamel while scrubbing off plaque.
Onions are terrific for oral health because they have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds. Eat them fresh and uncooked to get the best results for your oral health.
These mushrooms prevent mouth bacteria from forming plaque because they contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar.
Naturally sweet raisins prevent cavities and gum disease from forming because of the phytochemicals they contain, like oleanolic acid. Unsweetened cranberries lower the risk of cavities with their polyphenols which keep plaque from sticking to teeth.
Sweet potatoes, along with carrots, pumpkins, and broccoli, have high amounts of Vitamin A, which promotes the healing of gum tissue and is essential for the formation of tooth enamel.
Water keeps your gums hydrated while stimulating saliva – the best defense against bacteria. It is also as effective as mouthwash at swishing away stuck particles and residue from your teeth. The best beverage you can give your mouth is tap water because it usually has added fluoride, which helps ward off tooth decay by strengthening the enamel on your teeth. Water’s zero-sugar content makes it one of the healthiest drinks available. It promotes neither tooth decay nor erosion. Not every city or municipality adds fluoride to its tap, and tap water is not great to drink everywhere you go. If the tap water in your area does not have added fluoride, or you think it does not taste very good, drink bottled water instead. Often times, if a bottled water contains fluoride, it will let you know with the message on its label, “Drinking fluoridated water may reduce the risk of tooth decay.”
Milk is another healthy drink option that promotes good oral health. Milk is a good source of phosphorus, which helps to strengthen the enamel in teeth just like fluoride, and is also high in calcium and protein. If you are allergic or lactose intolerant, you can drink no-sugar-added soy milk that has been fortified with calcium. The added calcium and lack of sugar can provide the same benefit to your dental well-being.
Polyphenols, compounds which slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease, are found in both black and green teas. They also help with bad breath. Catechins are found in green tea and kill the bacteria that leads to plaque. They also prevent gum disease and cavities. You might be surprised to see tea on the list of healthy drinks. Plain and unsweetened tea actually benefits your mouth, whereas black tea stains teeth and sugary iced teas facilitate tooth decay. Tea is a good option for warming up on a chilly day, and using fluoridated tap water to make it is even better.
Chewing sugarless gum is beneficial to your teeth because it helps dislodge food which may have gotten stuck in your teeth. It also increases the flow of saliva to buffer and neutralize mouth acids. Some gums contain ingredients that can heal areas on the teeth where cavities are beginning.
Fill your diet with fresh produce, nuts and seeds, legumes, lean meats and whole grains. These defend against bacteria and inflammation because they contribute to a more alkaline state in the body. Avoid food with artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flour and partially hydrogenated oils. These increase bacteria and create inflammation because they contribute to a more acidic state in the body. Your dental health is affected not just by what you eat, but also when you eat. More saliva is released during a meal, so these foods cause less harm to teeth than if you snack throughout the day. Saliva lessens the effects of acids, which can harm teeth and cause cavities, and also helps wash foods from the mouth. So try to limit snacking, and if you do snack choose fruits, vegetables or cheese to help keep those teeth and gums healthy!
If you are in the Wichita area, look no further than Dillehay Orthodontics to help you achieve better overall oral health. Any questions you may have about how to better take care of your teeth and gums can be answered by our friendly staff. Schedule an appointment today or stop by one of our three convenient offices. We can get you on the path to great oral health!